Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 74 ›› Issue (7): 1363-1373.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201907007

• Climate Change and Surface Processes • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Formation mechanism of near-shore erosional topography in the Hengsha passage of the Yangtze Estuary

HUA Kai1,CHENG Heqin1,2(),ZHENG Shuwei1,3   

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
    2.Institute of Eco-Chongming, Shanghai 202150, China
    3.College of Geography and Environment, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250358, China
  • Received:2018-06-09 Revised:2019-03-06 Online:2019-07-25 Published:2019-07-23
  • Contact: CHENG Heqin
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(51761135023);Nanjing Geological Survey Center, China Geological Survey(DD20160246)


The intense erosion of a near-shore riverbed is one of the main factors for the slope failure of a bank. During a detailed investigation carried out in August 2017 and May 2018 of underwater topography of the Yangtze Estuary, a large scour pit was recognized near the shore of the Hengsha passage. The morphological and geometrical parameters of the scour pit were measured using the SeaBat7125 multi-beam system. Dual-frequency ADCP was used to collect hydrodynamic data near the scour pit. Further, a historic nautical chart was digitalized to analyze the evolution and formation mechanism of the scour pit. The results indicated that the scour pit is in the shape of an oval, with a length and width of around 430 m and 150 m, respectively; the deepest point is approximately 38 m below the surrounding riverbed. Since the formation of the -20 m isobaths line in 1992, the scour pit area has been expanding continuously, and the average depth has been increasing yearly; in particular, after 2005, the depth increased sharply. From 1984 to 2017, the riverbed around the scour pit underwent the process of erosion-silting-erosion. In the 33 years, the scouring amount is 3.45×10 7 m 3, and the average scouring depth is 4.68 m. The ebb tide from the North Channel flows into the Hengsha passage, forming a circulation flow, thereby eroding the channel near the west bank of the Hengsha island and forming a scour pit. After 2005, the scour pit grew rapidly and expanded southward. This is mainly because the reclamation engineering performed in North Changxing reduced the curvature radius of the bend that resulted in intensified erosion. The reservoir construction engineering performed in Qingcaosha moved the thalweg in the upper and middle sections of the North Channel, and the northward entrance of the Hengsha passage expanded owing to the ebb current, which is also one of the main reasons for rapid erosion. In addition, the construction of reclamation and deep-water channel projects in the vicinity has contributed to the erosion of the channel bed, thereby accelerating the expansion of the scour pit. It can be seen that human engineering activities are the main driving factors for the rapid development of large scour pits in the Changjiang Estuary.

Key words: the Yangtze Estuary, Hengsha passage, erosional topography, human activity, multi-beam sounding system